Rupert Lee-Browne, founder of Caxton Fx, shares his predictions for the year ahead:
I’ll remember 2011 for… shifting sands. The whole economic and financial landscape changed over the course of the year. And for my business that meant treading carefully between increased growth and the means to fund that growth. In order to raise money for working capital, we decided to launch our own retail bond (in effect, a small loan from lots of people, paying a fixed interest rate over a set period ? in our case, 7.25 per cent over four years.) This proved to be a very successful method; we were able to raise a significant amount despite the uncertain economic climate, which will be used to help grow the business further and faster.
2012 will be great because… despite the gloomy economic outlook, I am sure that business conditions will benefit companies that offer genuine value and great service for customers. Coincidentally, that’s just what we do! We have a whole series of new products to introduce in 2012 and a great team to help our customers ? the challenge will be to manage our growth in these extraordinary times.
One topic we’ll hear a lot from next year will be… non-bank funding for SMEs. There is a crisis looming in the form of SME financing. Within five years, banks will have pulled out of financing for smaller companies thanks to Basel lll which makes it unprofitable to lend within the sector. We all know the stats about SMEs being the powerhouse of the country, so to keep the economy alive there needs to be an alternative way to fund business. Having launched a retail bond of our own, I think this is a great way for companies to raise money since it sidesteps the banks and offers retail savers much better returns. I hope that Government wakes up to the opportunity and provides the right regulatory framework for this financing method to happen.
The one thing that would help me grow my business in 2012 would be… more distribution! We have a great range of products for retail and SME customers, from free international payments to currency expenses cards. We have the right service model and a great team to make it all happen. But what we need is a wider audience and more distributors to help us reach them. I’m always open to ideas.
My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is… to listen more.
Real Business will be running the “My 2012” series for the next month, bringing you top entrepreneurs’ views and predictions of the year ahead.
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